Survival, in any sense of the word, is an enormous accomplishment and definitely worthy of celebration. Think about your life and all that you have been through and all that you have overcome. Nearly all of the events and circumstances that brought us to a point of really feeling proud of ourselves or our accomplishments involved some degree of endurance.
We have all endured pain, agony, loss, fear, sleep deprivation, disappointment and so many other emotions, sensory perceptions and feelings to reach the point of where you are right now. If you went through these life events and overcame them enough to still see the good things in life, you are a survivor. Maybe you haven’t overcome everything you have been through in the best way possible or the healthiest way possible, but you have endured many of these emotions, nonetheless, and you still believe there is beauty in life. And, you are here now…reading this.
So, how do we do it? How do we get through all of these painful experiences and still find things to hope for, events that bring us joy and reasons to smile? There are multiple reasons we are capable of suffering and still smiling. But, the number one reason that we are able to do this is because adversity builds self-esteem, character, tenacity and makes all of the other life moments more meaningful IF you have the capacity to pull through these adverse circumstances to land on the side of empowerment rather than damage.
We all have different ingredients that went into how we were raised. For me, the survival instinct that I carry was deeply instilled in me via my father. There are many life lessons about survival that my dad taught me, but I compiled a top-ten list of the things that dad taught me that I believe are the most beneficial in raising a child to be empowered, self-reliant and a survivor.
Your child will be far more likely to grow into a capable, emotionally strong and confident adult who is well-equipped to handle life’s circumstances, regardless of what life throws at them, if you actively instill these core principles into your parenting philosophies in all that you do, in all that you say and in all that you teach. First, you must also model these principles yourself. As you read them, if some do not apply to you, practice them until they do become a part of your belief system as well. A strong sense of self, a strong belief in your own abilities and an adaptable mind are vital for any human being navigating their way through the many emotional avenues of life. These principles will serve you or your child well whether enduring a job loss, a divorce, being lost and alone or a catastrophic event.
1. The world doesn’t center or rotate around me. I am an inter-connected part and my actions affect others.
2. To survive circumstance and life, I must be adaptable.
3. To flourish and to positively impact this world, I must learn to utilize my abilities.
4. Even though I cannot control life or mother nature, I can harness mother nature’s and life’s gifts and use them to my advantage.
5. Survival requires the will to endure and the tenacity to overcome. Life requires these plus a sense of humor.
6. I am special, but I am not that special. I am just like everyone else, but I can stand out by being among the few who truly believe in my own talents, abilities and skills.
7. No one will rescue, salvage or save me from all of life’s painful encounters. I must be able to be self-reliant enough to take care of myself regardless of the unpredictability of life.
8. I should never rest on my laurels as there is always more to learn and more to practice.
9. I need to hope for the best, prepare for the worst and expect something in between the two if I am prepared.
10. I must cherish every blessing, every gift and every opportunity presented to me because I only get one life.
These core life and survival principles have carried me through some turbulent times and I have come out on the the other side a stronger and even more adaptable person each and every time. I hope some of these will help you as well and carry you or your child through the tough times in order to truly value the joyful times.